American Dream: The Portastudio Recordings
by David Chiu
You may have never heard of the Heaters unless you were part of the L.A. music scene of the late the ’70s. Back then, the power pop group was one of the hottest local acts around who shared the same stage with Van Halen, Cheap Trick and Talking Heads. Fast forward to 1983, and the trio of Missy Connell, Maggie Connell and Mercy Bermudez, disheartened from their major label experiences in the handling of their first two albums, decided to take it upon themselves to make the songs they want. Using a four-track Portastudio tape machine, the three recorded some great songs that recalled the ’60s girl group sound—standout cuts include the title song, “All I Want to Do,” “1,000 Roses,” “Sandy,” and “Love Will Be Hurrying to You.” Perhaps a nod to their previous incarnation to their more punk-ish roots, the Heaters also recorded the energetic “Rock This Place”–but otherwise a majority of the songs they crafted using the Portastudio is a loving homage to the girl groups, Phil Spector and the Brill Building sound. Sadly those songs never made it onto an album and the group broke up. Now 33 years later, those Portastudio songs have finally seen the light of day with the release of American Dream. Highlighted by the strong and booming voice of Bermudez and the musicianship of the Connell sisters, these untouched songs possess a charming lo-fi quality and purity that modern-day technological advancements like ProTools can’t duplicate or enhance. These catchy songs are pop gems by a L.A. band whose found that greater fame eluded them finally get the treatment they deserve.